22 August 2008

Why Kindle Must Support ODF

I'm not a Kindle user. In part, because it's not available in the UK, but also because it seems too closed in terms of its overall architecture. But it's clearly winning fans - and I think that's going to be a problem.

Why that might be is revealed by this interesting posting:

Reading .DOC and (some) .PDF files. This part of the Kindle's function turns out to be much more important than I anticipated.

Mine can't be the only line of work that involves an endless stream of material to read, often arriving as Word .DOC or Adobe .PDF files. I resist printing them out, and I resent the additional hours of sitting in front a computer screen to read them.

By moving them instead to the Kindle, (a) I have them all in one place, (b) I avoid lugging around, or forgetting, that much additional paper, and (c) I have them in a much nicer form for reading than the computer itself.

I think this is right: I, too, would be tempted by a very lightweight system with a high-quality screen specifically designed for reading electronic texts. But as the writer notes, Kindle is great for two main formats: .doc and PDFs. As far as I am aware, there is no support for ODF. Assuming Kindle catches on, that's going to be an increasing problem for those of us pushing ODF.

Maybe time to start a campaign for ODF support on the Kindle....


Anonymous said...

Just to be sure, ".doc" is not a single format. It's an ongoing chain of undocumented formats with arbitrary incompatibilties. Even MS is dropping the old menagerie of ".doc" formats. As more agencies and home users are leaving these behind, ODF becomes not just important but essential.

Anonymous said...

Still, the Kindle lacks utility without an open document format based on open standards. Otherwise, it's just another [proprietary] tool for separating you from your money and the content it's buying.

Glyn Moody said...

Indeed, but it's still perceived as cool, and that's the danger.